House of Locks

Jebel Harim

An interesting feature of Jebel Harim is the type of local stone-built house known as bait al qifl or ‘house of locks’. So called on account of their elaborate locking mechanisms, the homes (traditionally left empty during summer months) are built low to the ground, and the floor is excavated to about 1m below the door, with beds and an eating area raised on platforms. There's a good example in the middle of Rawdah Bowl, near the road and a grave site.

Furniture and vital earthenware water jars are often placed inside a house of locks just before the roof is added, ensuring that no one makes off with the contents during summer migration. Some of the rocks used in these buildings are 1m thick and take six to eight men to lift. The roof is made of tree trunks and insulated against the heat and cold by mud.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Jebel Harim attractions

1. Rawdah Bowl

0.76 MILES

Beneath Jebel Harim, a gap in the mountains leads to an almost circular plateau known as the Rawdah Bowl. A beautiful depression of mature acacia and ghaf…

2. Tombstones

3.34 MILES

A set of ancient inscribed gravestones marks the junction between Rawdah Bowl and the Omani portion of Wadi Bih. Fashioned either from luminous yellow…

3. Jebel Harim Pass

7.86 MILES

This pass, high up on Jebel Harim, connects the east coast of Musandam with the west coast, across the neck of the peninsula. Rawdah Bowl lies at the…

4. Sayh Plateau

8.25 MILES

This tiny natural plain surrounded by jagged limestone peaks has been farmed for centuries and is a beautiful sight in the winter when the plain is bright…

5. Jebel Jais

9.12 MILES

The highest peak in the UAE at 1934m, Jebel Jais is even occasionally dusted with snow. A switchback road snakes up the mountainside delivering vistas of…

6. Jebel Jais Viewing Deck Park

10.58 MILES

As observation decks go, it doesn't get much posher than this. Opened in early 2018, the landscaped and manicured viewing terraces here at 1250m have…

7. Dhayah Fort

13.53 MILES

It's well worth climbing the zigzagging staircase (you'll need sturdy shoes – this is not flip-flops territory) to this twin-towered hilltop fortress to…

8. Al Khalidiyah

15.03 MILES

From the base of the track to Khor Al Najd, a road leads to the village of Sal Alaa and Al Khalidiyah, an inland bowl full of magnificent mature trees…